As a private person I am always mildly in awe of people who can bare their souls in print for thousands or millions of strangers. I can share personal details of my life, and do here from time to time, but there are lines I will not cross.
Melissa Fisher has crossed all lines in The Way of Hope, which makes for a compelling read even if I did feel a little uncomfortable, like a voyeur staring at her naked soul.
The book is billed as “a fresh perspective on sexual identity, same sex marriage and the church.” I’m not certain the perspective is fresh, but it is one woman’s powerful story of her immersion into the gay lifestyle and subsequent departure from it.
There are no punches pulled, no holds barred. Fisher, remembering her own experiences, points out that those dealing with same-sex attraction don’t feel any love or comfort from the church. Maybe that isn’t true of every local congregation (as indeed she did find people who were willing to accept her as a person without accepting her lifestyle) but it is probably true of many if not most. We have difficulty separating sin from sinner, and not just for sexual sins.
How does a good Christian girl wind up married to another woman, knowing that this is not what God intended? As we walk with Fisher on her journey she explains her choices and we see the logic behind them. Too many times it seems her choices are informed by hurt caused by those who call themselves Christian.
Fisher tells her story well, with an easy to read style. It isn’t just her story though, not only an autobiography. She takes what she experienced and works out from it to show how one person’s story has a message for each of us. A message of hope. For those trapped and looking for a way out, she offers a map.
It takes courage to share the worst aspects of your life with others. Fisher has shown that courage and more. After you hear her story and perspective, she allows others to have their say: her mother, her father and her ex-wife. Their contribution isn’t large, but I found their voices to be valuable in letting the reader see the whole picture.
Who should read this book? Certainly anyone interested in the personal aspects of the same-sex debate, who wants to increase their understanding. You won’t read about law and sociology, but one person’s story, a story that is I am sure remarkably similar to thousands of others. It should also appeal to anyone who enjoys a tale of overcoming, a story of redemption and the love of God.
Because that is what it all boils down to in the end. No matter who we are, without that love there will be no hope.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”